BERLIN — Bertelsmann and Kirch have won a tug of war with Rupert Murdoch’s TM3 over German soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer.
Budding sports channel TM3 had been trying to lure the former Bayern Munchen star and popular sports commentator from his current positions at the Kirch Group’s pay TV channel Premiere and Bertelsmann’s RTL web.
While manager Robert Schwan refused to divulge Beckenbauer’s going price, insiders said TM3 had offered him between DM3 million and 4 million ($1.65 million-$2.2 million) a season.
In June, Schwan reportedly told TM3 that they were interested in the offer. This appears to be all it took for Kirch and Bertelsmann to present an attractive counteroffer.
TM3 was hoping to get Beckenbauer as its main commentator for its upcoming Champions League soccer coverage, the rights to which the broadcaster acquired earlier this year. Beckenbauer’s name recognition also would have assured ad coin for the women’s-cum-sports channel.